Goaty Pumpkin and Potato Gratin and Mâche with Pomegranate

After a long walk along the Rhine collecting items for home decoration (I’ve just recently fallen in love with Apartment Therapy), I came home to prepare a hokkaido for yet another pumpkin cake I plan to bake next week and since an entire hokkaido is way too much for one cake, I made a pumpkin and potato gratin with 1/4 of the hokkaido and what other ingredients I had left at home.

 
 
 
Goaty Pumpkin and Potato Gratin
(serves 2-3)

Ingredients:

8 small red potatoes, roughly sliced (I used Franceline)
250g hokkaido, cubed
3 TS olive oil
2 TS fresh or dried sage
2 TS sunflower seeds
2 TS butter or vegetable margarine
2 TS flour
250ml goat’s milk
1 ts instant vegetable broth (glutamate- and yeast-free)
1 small clove of garlic, grated
salt
freshly ground pepper
nutmeg, ground
100g goat’s milk feta cheese crumbles
2 TS Pecorino cheese, grated
1 slice toast or other white bread, crumbled

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 230°C.

2. Spread the cut potatoes and hokkaido separately on a prepared baking sheet, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Bake on the middle rack for about 25 minutes until lightly roasted.

3. Meanwhile, melt the butter or margarine in a pot, stir in the flour and let turn lightly golden. Add the goat’s milk and bring to boil while stirring with an eggbeater in order to avoid the formation of lumps. Turn down the heat when the milk starts to boil, keep on stirring while adding the instant broth and garlic. The mixture should turn into a béchamel-like sauce. Set aside and season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg (remember that the feta will also add salt to the gratin).

4. Remove the pumpkin and potatoes from the oven and turn down the heat to 190°C. First, transfer the pumpkin into a prepared baking dish, creating an even layer. Sprinkle with the sage and sunflower seeds. Add the potatoes, creating another even layer.

5. Pour the goat’s milk sauce over the potatoes evenly and garnish with feta, bread crumbs and pecorino.

6. Bake the gratin in the oven for about 20-30 minutes until brown and crisp on top.

 

Mâche with Pomegranate, Dates and Bacon
(serves 2)
This actually is my wonderful flatmate Gesa’s creation.

Ingredients:

2-3 hands full of mâche
3 TS pitted dates, sliced
kernels from 1/2 pomegranate
2 TS lean bacon, small dices
3 TS olive oil
1 1/2 TS balsamico di Modena
1 ts Dijon mustard
1 ts honey
salt
freshly ground pepper

Directions:

1. For the vinaigrette, mix the olive oil, balsamic, mustard and honey in a small bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper and stir well to combine.

2. Put the mâche, dates, pomegranate and bacon in a bowl, add the vinaigrette and toss carefully to combine.
 

 

Pasta Aglio Olio, Matryoshkas and a New Cookbook

I’ve been baking and cooking according to American recipes for some time now and what always bothered me a little was the converting. A cup of flour for example is not the same in grams as a cup of beans, thus the converting had to be done for every new ingredient and this was quite time-consuming, especially since ingredients like pumpkin purée don’t appear in common converting charts. Luckily, my converting was always correct and everything turned out well, however, it was finally time for me to get some measuring cups. So I ordered the matryoshka ones in the image below and they’re wonderful! They measure everything from 1 cup to 1/4 cup and even look pretty in the kitchen dresser. Along with these cups I ordered Béatrice Peltre’s “La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life“ (La Tartine Gourmande). This book is just amazing, the perfect addition to my cookbook shelf. It contains so many beautiful photographs taken by the author herself, great recipes and tipps for the kitchen. I can’t wait to get started on all the recipes I’ve already marked.

 

Pasta Aglio Olio
(serves 2)

Sometimes, the most basic recipes are the best. Pasta Aglio Olio is easy and quick to prepare, the only thing that really needs to be paid attention to is that the pasta has to be cooked al dente and not a minute longer and only fresh and good quality ingredients are used. This should always be the case, but it’s especially important in dishes that consist of only a few ingredients and no heavy sauce that might compensate for soggy pasta or dried herbs.

Ingredients:

250g pasta of your choice
4-5 TS good quality olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1 handfull of dried tomatoes (not those in oil), chopped
Piri piri
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 TS shaved Pecorino or Parmesan
3 TS minced fresh parsley

Directions:

1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package, be careful not to over-cook them.

2. Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the garlic and reduce the heat, being careful that the garlic doesn’t scorch. It may only turn golden.

3. Add the tomatoes and fry on low heat for about 3 minutes.

4. Drain the pasta in a sieve and add to the pan. Mix well and season to taste with piri piri, salt and pepper.

5. Serve the pasta on two plates and garnish with the shaved Pecorino or Parmesan and minced parsley.

Pumpkin Pie

It is pumpkin time and regionally cultivated pumpkins will be available at low prices until February. Hence, there is an excessive use of pupmkin in my kitchen at the moment. My favourite pumpkin to use is hokkaido as its skin is edible – it becomes soft when cooked or baked so it’s really easy to prepare. I used hokkaido for the recipe below, but I am definitely going to try butternut squash soon, too.

Pumpkin Pie
(adapted from 101 cookbooks)

Ingredients:

Crust:
250g all purpose flour
125g butter or vegetable margarine
125g raw cane sugar
1 package vanilla sugar
1 egg
1 ts baking powder

Filling:
340g ground hazelnuts
2 TS hazelnut oil or other neutral oil
150g raw cane sugar
1 ½ TS ground cinnamon
¾ ts ground allspice
½ ts ground cloves (you might want to use less, I thought the pie tasted a bit too much of cloves)
1 ½ ground ginger
1 ts salt
1 TS cornstarch
600g roasted hokkaido purée (cube, salt and pepper, roast in oven 25 minutes at 230°C, purée)
1 ts vanilla extract
3 large eggs
237 ml coconut milk

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

2. For the crust mix all ingredients in a bowl and fold until well combined. Place the dough on the bottom and around the edges of a prepared spring form (26 cm) and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Carefully roast the ground hazelnuts in a pan until lightly brown and fragrant. Stir in the hazelnut oil into 300g of the nuts until they turn into a creamy paste. Set aside.

4. In a bowl whisk together the sugar, spices and starch. First stir in the pumpkin purée and vanilla, then the eggs and coconut milk until well combined.

5. Get the spring form from the refrigerator and with a fork prick a couple of holes in the dough on the bottom of the form. Fill in the hazelnut paste and smooth out with a spoon or knife.

6. Fill in the pumpkin purée and smooth out, too.

7. Transfer the pie into the oven and let bake on the middle rack for about 50 minutes. The filling should be set, only the center may jiggle a little.

8. Let the pie cool completely, this will make cutting it easier.

9. Serve with cinnamon cream and sprinkle with the remaining ground hazelnuts.

 
And also:



Beirut – Un dernier verre (Pour la route)

La Dolce Vita a Roma

Shame on me: I had never been to Italy until last weekend. I love food, I love wine and I love languages so Italy would have always been the perfect place for me to go. Luckily, a friend of me asked me to come to Rome with her and the city, the people, the atmosphere, the weather were just wonderful. A perfect trip. A presto, Italia!

Aperitivo and best Tiramisù
Galleria Borghese
Campo De’ Fiori Market
Best Ice Cream at Gelateria Fassi
Handmade Leather Purses from Artigianino
Party (Crazy Daisy)
Restaurant and Lounge Ketumbar

Martini Fragoli

Ingredients:
(serves 1)

15 ml Wild Strawberry Liqueur
75 ml Vodka
2 Ice Cubes

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a glass and enjoy!

Foodie Pen Pals September Guest Post

As Nova doesn’t have a blog herself, I am happy to post below what she received from her Foodie Pan Pal from Brighton:

I was matched with Sandra from Brighton – in my original email describing what I liked I mentioned my diet is basically built around chicken or pasta and the fact that id rather snack than have a big meal and that I’m always on the search for new lunch ideas.

Sandra emailed back and said she was off to Berlin and would I like anything specific if anything from her trip – I said I didn’t have any preferences but if she saw something id be happy for her to send it.

My love of foodie pen pals is that the more open you are to receiving things the more likely you are to receive something you’ve never tried before and wouldn’t put it in your basket at a supermarket. This is how I first came to try and fall in love with granola and now even make my own!

Raw- goji berry and orange 75% cacao chocolate bar – I’ve always liked the idea of raw and basic food knowing what is put in your food is something I’ve recently became interested in. I immediately opened this and I loved the taste. Yum something defiantly to look put for in the future.

Vietnamese sauce – this is for chicken ill have to read the packet more thoroughly as I’m unsure whether I use this as part of a stir fry or a marinade.

German chocolates – I love trying different sweets from around the world from bacci from Italy to reeses peanut butter cups from the usa I can always find a local sweet to fall in love with.

Honey chips – something unusual I would never buy myself but can imagine them to be sweet and crunchy.

Chilli and red pepper crisps – there in my lunch bag for today, Im love with anything red pepper at the moment so these will be a winner.

Hot and spicy crackers? – The packet isn’t in English so I’m guessing what’s in this one. Something hot and spicy always goes down well as I enjoy challenging my taste buds and heat tolerance levels! Ha ha.

Foodie Pen Pals September

When I came across the Foodie Pen Pal program on The Lean Green Bean and its European equivalent on This Rock Salt, I was immediately hooked with the idea of exchanging packages with food and kitchen-related items throughout Europe on a monthly basis. So I enrolled and was really excited who I’d be assigned to send a package for September and who I would receive a package from. When I found out that both my partners are from England, I was very happy as I love England!

So here’s what I received from Nova from Sunderland – the perfect first FPP package, thank you again so much, Nova!

Nova put so much effort into assembling the package. I received a small letter with explanations and extra information on the items she sent me plus a lovely postcard and a recipe for Yorkshire pudding that I’d actually just read about on the day before I received the package… I haven’t tried it yet, but I will definitely do so soon.

Dairy free buttons and white buttons which I can’t wait to use on my next cake! And 3 nakd. bars which I had read about before and definitely wanted to try. One bar is missing because when Nova’s package arrived I was about to go running and really needed some energy after a long day of work.

Piri Piri, what a great and versatile spice blend! I’ve already used it in a marinade for chicken breast and a stir fry. And English tea which I am having for breakfast every morning now.

(The photo for the following items didn’t turn out well, which is why I left it out: Salt&Vinegar Potato Bites, Smoked Almonds, Roast Potato Coating)

I love salt and vinegar flavor and when I had a friend over for a couple of strawberry daiquiris, we ate almost all the potato bites and smoked almonds… I’m also really looking forward to trying the coating for roast potatoes. I told Nova that potatoes were my favorite food and she was so kind and sent me this!

If you want to know what I sent Nichola, then check her lovely blog here.

Here’s a little sneak-a-peek: